The Bible

 

Genesis 1

King James Version         

Study the Inner Meaning

Next →

1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first Day.

6 And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.

7 And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.

8 And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.

9 And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.

10 And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.

11 And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.

12 And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

13 And the evening and the morning were the third day.

14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:

15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.

16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.

17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,

18 And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.

19 And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.

20 And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.

21 And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

22 And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.

23 And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.

24 And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.

25 And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.

30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.

31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

Next →

   Study the Inner Meaning

Genesis 1: The Creation and Development of our Spiritual Life      

By Rev. William Woofenden

The first book of the Bible is "Genesis", which means "creation". It's a very, very ancient story - one of the oldest stories of humankind, and it's full of symbolic meaning that - still - gets to the core of what it is to be truly human.

The first three days of creation describe the development of the natural degree of man's life. They come first as a preparation for the opening of the spiritual degree of our minds. The creation of the grass, herbs, and trees took place on the third day, and constitutes the third step in regeneration. The creation of the fowl and fish was on the fifth day. Between these on the fourth day the sun, moon, and stars were created.

From the beginning man had light, for all light is from the Lord, but it was not direct light. He was not at first in the clear light of the sun, moon, and stars, which are set in the firmament. The firmament is the internal man. There is a preparation that has to be made before the internal man is opened. At first we think we see the truth and do good from ourselves. Hence only inanimate things are produced. All truth and good are from the Lord who alone is truth and goodness, and only when we come to acknowledge this can we have true love from him, true faith in Him, and true knowledge of spiritual things. These are not seen from the external or natural degree of life.

Again we should note a change of language. It was said, "Let the earth bring forth" the grass, herb, and fruit trees. Now and through the remaining days it is said that "God created." Man has a part to play in his regeneration. There must be in his mind forms into which the warmth of love and the light of faith and of spiritual truths can flow.

When the mind is so prepared, influx from the Lord can be received, with greater power. "And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven." It should be noted that it is the waters that are commanded to bring forth the moving creature that hath life, and that it is not the seas but the waters which are to produce the living creatures. The seas represent the gathering together of knowledges, but by the "waters" are meant the spiritual truths in the mind. So in the Lord's words to the woman of Samaria, "Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst" (John 4:14). In Ezekiel it is the "waters" issuing from the sanctuary that give life (Ezekiel 47:1). The Psalmist writes, "Who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters" (Psalm 104:3). It is not in natural waters that the Lord lays the beams of His chambers. His chambers are the interior principles of His church; the beams give them support and strength. These are said to be laid in the waters because they rest and have their foundation in the genuine truths of the Word. So in Revelation the Word itself is described as a pure river of water of life.

The will faculty in man embraces all his affections and is the internal man. When the sun, moon, and stars—love, faith, and knowledges of spiritual truth—are set in this heaven and begin to impart their warmth and light to the external man, enabling him to think and act from these higher and purer principles, then the external man is gifted with a new life. There may be no apparent change in his outward conduct—he may already be living a moral life—but the motives that direct his acts will be wholly different. And it is the motive that gives character to the act as well as to the actor. He no longer thinks of the truths that he has learned, either natural or spiritual, as the product of his own mind nor of the good, that he does as the result of his own efforts, but thinks of them as wholly from the Lord, who alone is the source of all true light and life.

Before one recognizes clearly that all good and truth come from the Lord, he can bring forth only inanimate things, the grass, herb, and fruit tree, however good and useful these may be. But when he is enlightened by genuine love and faith, his knowledges become the basis for the development of spiritual life and God can create in him the living creatures that have life. First the fishes are created; then the fowl of the air. There is a difference between fishes and birds. The fishes, living in water, represent our affections for natural truths. The great whales, the largest of living creatures, are affections for the great general principles that control the mind. The principle may be either true or false. Of Pharaoh or Egypt it is written, "Thou art as a whale in the seas: and thou earnest forth with thy rivers, and troubledst the waters with thy feet, and fouled at their rivers" (Ezekiel 32:2) Here is pictured a ruling false principle from the natural degree of the mind — Egypt. That is, when the ruling principle is false, it will be a monster making the truths in the mind obscure like filthy or muddy waters.

Another example of the meaning of the whale in a bad sense is in the story of Jonah. When the principle is false it swallows up for a time all the truths that are in the mind. This is the whale swallowing Jonah the prophet. But Divine truth cannot be used by a false principle so as to become a part of its organic structure. Nor can the Divine truth perish. So the whale could not digest Jonah, nor could the prophet perish, but the whale vomited him up.

Spiritually there are whales trying to swallow prophets today, evil principles that try to use Divine truths to attain their ends. In the creation story, however, the whales are affections for the principles of natural truth for the sake of uses to the spiritual man. There is one source of genuine love. The creatures of the fifth day are living because they are animated by this love. Birds fly in the air above the earth. They have the power of flight and enjoy broader views. They represent affections for truth that rise above the natural. They are the thoughts that look at life from the heights of spiritual perception, ideas about the Lord, heaven, and spiritual things. Isaiah writes, "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles" (Isaiah 40:31). Birds represent spiritual intelligence, the power to lift us up to understand spiritual truth in heavenly light, through which truth the Lord can impart to us something of the Divine intelligence. So at the baptism of the Lord "The heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him" (Matthew 3:16). So a new knowledge of heavenly life is given, a new perception of our possibilities, and in this higher intelligence a basis for further development is laid. This further development is pictured in the creation of the living creatures upon the earth. These are symbols of the affections. Here, too, it is said, "Let the earth bring forth" and also "And God made the beast of the earth." The creation of living animals on the earth and of man in the image and likeness of God marks the completion of the six days of creation—the six stages in regeneration. Man has first to learn what is to be believed and done and then to do it.

It is the office of the understanding to hear the Word and of the will to do it. In this way the truths are made our own, and the will and understanding make one mind. And when one begins to act from love as well as from faith, he becomes a spiritual man, who is called an image of God, and is given dominion over all things. Thus all things natural and spiritual come to be a delight to him and serviceable to him. To be an image and likeness of God one must act from impulses similar to those of God. This he cannot do until he comes into the final state of regeneration. Then he will not act from selfish motives, as does the natural man, nor from mere obedience to truth, but from love to the Lord and the neighbor. When these loves are developed and rule, to them is given the dominion over all subordinate affections and the fruits of all the growths of intelligence. These are what make man to be a man and cause him to be in the image and likeness of his Maker. Each step in the formation of a truly human character the Lord saw and pronounced good, but of the work of the sixth day it is said, "God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good."

From Swedenborg's Works

Main explanations:

Arcana Coelestia 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, ...

Apocalypse Explained 257

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 402


Other references to this chapter:

Arcana Coelestia 246, 300, 476, 478, 480, 670, 709, ...

Apocalypse Revealed 200, 414

Conjugial Love 132, 156

Divine Love and Wisdom 11, 18, 287, 358

Divine Providence 123, 328

The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem Regarding the Sacred Scripture 14, 103

Heaven and Hell 137

The Last Judgement 20

True Christian Religion 20, 34, 46, 48, 364, 490


References from Swedenborg's drafts, indexes & diaries:

Apocalypse Explained 229, 294, 401, 513, 526, 527, 555, ...

Canons of the New Church 45

Charity 91

Coronis (An Appendix to True Christian Religion) 23, 25, 28

De Verbo (The Word) 14

Spiritual Experiences 1973, 1974, 5605, 6110

Marriage 20, 34, 46, 48, 71

Related New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:



Hop to Similar Bible Verses

Genesis 2:3, 7, 16, 19, 5:1, 2, 6:1, 21, 8:17, 9:1, 2, 3, 6, 11:7

Exodus 20:11

Deuteronomy 4:19, 32:4

2 Kings 19:15

2 Chronicles 2:11

Nehemiah 9:6

Job 12:7, 9, 26:8, 38:8

Psalms 8:4, 7, 19:2, 24:2, 33:6, 7, 9, 74:16, 95:5, 104:6, 14, 19, 25, 115:15, 16, 121:2, 136:5, 7, 9, 148:4, 7

Proverbs 8:29

Ecclesiastes 3:11

Isaiah 40:26, 45:7, 61:11

Jeremiah 4:23, 10:12, 31:35

Jonah 1:9

Zechariah 12:1

Matthew 19:4

Mark 4:28, 10:6

Luke 3:38

Acts of the Apostles 4:24, 17:29

1 Corinthians 11:7, 15:38

2 Corinthians 4:6, 6:14

Colossians 3:10

1 Timothy 4:4

Hebrews 6:8, 11:3

James 3:9

2 Peter 5, 6

Revelation 4:11

Bible Word Meanings

beginning
In the Word, "beginning" doesn't just mean the beginning of something in time. In the inner sense, it means the initial phase of a spiritual...

God
When the Bible speaks of "Jehovah," it is representing love itself, the inmost love that is the essence of the Lord. That divine love is...

created
The creation of heaven and earth in the first chapter of Genesis means the new creation of the celestial church called 'Man'.

heaven
"Air" in the Bible represents thought, but in a very general way – more like our capacity to perceive ideas and the way we tend...

earth
Land' in the Word, denotes the church, for the things which signify the church also signify the things relating to the church, for these constitute...

form
A person who has yet to be regenerated is called 'a void and an empty earth', and also 'ground where no good or truth has...

darkness
"Darkness" is a state without light. "Light" is truth from the Lord, so "darkness" represents a state where truth is lacking. Here's a cogent passage...

Face of the deep
The face of the deep (Gen. 1:2) signifies the lust of the unregenerate man, and the falsities thence originating.

face
“The eyes are the windows of the soul.” That’s a sentiment with roots somewhere in murky antiquity, but one that has become hopelessly cliché because...

Spirit of God
'The spirit of God,' as in Genesis 1:2, signifies the divine mercy of the Lord. 'The spirit of God' is His emanation. 'The spirit of...

Face of the waters
The face of the water (Gen. 1:2) signifies the knowledges of good and truth.

said
As with many common verbs, the meaning of “to say” in the Bible is highly dependent on context. Who is speaking? Who is hearing? What...

light
In the Word, “light” in the highest sense represents Divine Truth: knowledge, ideas, understanding that come to us from the Lord. In lesser degrees...

saw
The symbolic meaning of "seeing" is "understanding," which is obvious enough that it has become part of common language (think about it; you might see...

good
It seems rather circular to say that “good” in the Bible represents good, but in a general sense it’s true! The case is this: The...

called
'To proclaim' signifies exploration from influx of the Lord.

day
The expression 'even to this day' or 'today' sometimes appears in the Word, as in Genesis 19:37-38, 22:14, 26:33, 32:32, 35:20, and 47:26. In a...

night
The sun in the Bible represents the Lord, with its heat representing His love and its light representing His wisdom. “Daytime,” then, represents a state...

evening
Since the light and warmth of the sun represent the Lord’s wisdom and love, it makes sense that evening, a time when the light and...

morning
Morning comes with the rising of the sun, and the sun – which gives life to the earth with its warmth and light – represents...

Firmament
The firmament, as in Genesis 1, signifies the internal man. The firmament of heaven is mutual love.

midst
The "midst" of something in the Bible represents the thing that is most central and most important to the spiritual state being described, the motivation...

under
Generally speaking things that are seen as lower physically in the Bible represent things that are lower or more external spiritually. In some cases this...

one
A company might have executives setting policy and strategy, engineers designing products, line workers building them, managers handling personnel and others handling various functions. They...

place
'A room' or 'place' denotes state.

land
Generally in the Bible a "country" means a political subdivision ruled by a king, or sometimes a tribe with a territory ruled by a king...

seas
Water generally represents what Swedenborg calls “natural truth,” or true concepts about day-to-day matters and physical things. Since all water ultimately flows into the seas,...

grass
Every herb in the Word signifies some species of scientifics. 'Herb bearing seed,' as mentioned in Genesis 1:29, signifies every truth which regards use. 'Green...

herb
Every herb in the Word signifies some species of scientifics. 'Herb bearing seed,' as mentioned in Genesis 1:29, signifies every truth which regards use. 'Green...

seed
'A seed' signifies love, and everyone who has love, as in Genesis 12:7. 8:15, 16. 'A seed' signifies faith grounded in charity. 'A seed' signifies...

fruit
We tend to think of "fruit" in two ways in natural language. One is as food that grows on trees and vines, sweet and delicious,...

tree
'Trees,' in general, signify the perceptions when discussing the celestial self, but when related to the spiritual church, they signify knowledges. A person in the...

Third day
'The third day' signifies the end of a state of preparation for reception, and so an end of purification, as in Exodus 19:16. 'The third...

third
'Three' denotes fullness, and 'a third,' not full.

lights
'The two luminaries' denote love and faith in the internal self.

signs
'A token,' as in Genesis 9:12, 13, 17, signifies causing it to be.

days
"Day" describes a state in which we are turned toward the Lord, and are receiving light (which is truth) and heat (which is a desire...

two
The number "two" has two different meanings in the Bible. In most cases "two" indicates a joining together or unification. This is easy to see...

Great lights
Great lights, as in luminaries, signify love and faith, and are called in Genesis 1:14-17, the sun, moon, and stars.

great
The word "great" is used in the Bible to represent a state with a strong degree of love and affection, of the desire for good;...

greater
The word "great" is used in the Bible to represent a state with a strong degree of love and affection, of the desire for good;...

give
Like other common verbs, the meaning of "give" in the Bible is affected by context: who is giving what to whom? In general, though, giving...

fourth
The number "four" in the Bible represents things being linked together or joined. This is partly because four is two times two, and two represents...

life
'Lives' is used in the plural, because of the will and understanding, and because these two lives make one.

fowl
Fowl signify spiritual truth; a bird, natural truth; and a winged thing, sensual truth. Fowl signify intellectual things. Fowl signify thoughts, and all that creeps...

fly
To fly, when spoken of the Lord, signifies to foresee and to provide. To fly, when predicated of the Lord, also signifies omnipresence. To fly...

open
To open,' as in Revelation 9, signifies communication and conjunction.

whales
'A whale,' as in Jeremiah 51:34, signifies people who possess the universal aspects of the knowledges of faith, as known, and apply them to evil...

living
'Lives' is used in the plural, because of the will and understanding, and because these two lives make one.

winged
'Wings' signify spiritual truths. 'Wings,' when related to the Lord, signify the divine spiritual. In the opposite sense, 'wings' relate to falsities and rationalizations from...

blessed
The Lord is perfect love expressed as perfect wisdom. He created us so that He could love us, could give us love and wisdom of...

fruitful
To be fruitful is predicated of goodnesses, and to be multiplied, of truths.

multiply
'Spreading themselves on the earth,' as in Genesis 8:17, signifies the internal self operating on the external.

fill
There are two ways something can be filled: It can be filled with something bad against the wishes of its owner, or it can be...

beast
"Beasts" represent the affection for doing good things, a true desire to do them from the heart. In the negative sense, "beasts" stand for the...

us
Angels do give us guidance, but they are mere helpers; the Lord alone governs us, through angels and spirits. Since angels have their assisting role,...

image
'An image' signifies falsities from self-derived intelligence.

sea
'The sea and the waves roaring' means heresy and controversies in the church and individual.

air
"Air" in the Bible represents thought, but in a very general way – more like our capacity to perceive ideas and the way we tend...

own
In many cases, the spiritual meaning of "own," both as a verb and as an adjective, is relatively literal. When people are described as the...

male
Because of their understanding of spiritual marriage, the people of the Most Ancient church perceived 'male and female' as two faculties in the spiritual self:...

male and female
Because of their understanding of spiritual marriage, the people of the Most Ancient church perceived 'male and female' as two faculties in the spiritual self:...

female
Female signifies good.

given
Like other common verbs, the meaning of "give" in the Bible is affected by context: who is giving what to whom? In general, though, giving...

sixth
Like most numbers in the Bible, "six" can have various meanings depending on context, but has a couple that are primary. When used in relation...

Videos from the Swedenborg Foundation

The videos shown here are provided courtesy of our friends at the Swedenborg Foundation. You can find out more about them here: swedenborg.com.


Our Bodies Connect to God's Design of the Universe

The human body is a microcosm of the divine design. Join us to learn about its connection to heaven and what its form can teach us about spiritual reality and how our minds work.


The Creation Story: Signs of Life - S&L Short Clips

The Biblical creation story is about the re-creation of our minds. Learn how the first signs of life on the third day symbolize heavenly ideas taking root in our lives.


Swedenborg 101: The Basic Nature of Everything - Swedenborg and Life

In this episode, host Curtis Childs and featured guests explore what eighteenth-century Christian mystic and philosopher Emanuel Swedenborg learned during his mystical explorations of the spiritual world. They delve into his life, spiritual awakening, and resulting philosophies about the relationship between this life and the afterlife.


What the 7 Days of Creation Mean - Swedenborg and Life

Was everything we see around us really created in seven days? Could that story in Genesis actually have something to say to each of us, right now? Join us as we discuss Swedenborg's accounts of his spiritual experiences and what he learned through them.


What the 7 Days of Creation Mean - Swedenborg and Life

Was everything we see around us really created in seven days? Could that story in Genesis actually have something to say to each of us, right now? Join us as we discuss Swedenborg's accounts of his spiritual experiences and what he learned through them.


What the 7 Days of Creation Mean - Swedenborg and Life

Was everything we see around us really created in seven days? Could that story in Genesis actually have something to say to each of us, right now? Join us as we discuss Swedenborg's accounts of his spiritual experiences and what he learned through them.


What the 7 Days of Creation Mean - Swedenborg and Life

Was everything we see around us really created in seven days? Could that story in Genesis actually have something to say to each of us, right now? Join us as we discuss Swedenborg's accounts of his spiritual experiences and what he learned through them.


What the 7 Days of Creation Mean - Swedenborg and Life

Was everything we see around us really created in seven days? Could that story in Genesis actually have something to say to each of us, right now? Join us as we discuss Swedenborg's accounts of his spiritual experiences and what he learned through them.


What the 7 Days of Creation Mean - Swedenborg and Life

Was everything we see around us really created in seven days? Could that story in Genesis actually have something to say to each of us, right now? Join us as we discuss Swedenborg's accounts of his spiritual experiences and what he learned through them.


Does God Want us to Dominate Nature? - Swedenborg Minute

Is there a religious call to exploit nature? Here, Swedenborg tackles a bit of text that has led some people to believe just that.

Resources for parents and teachers

The items listed here are provided courtesy of our friends at the General Church of the New Jerusalem. You can search/browse their whole library at the New Church Vineyard website.


 Animals and Plants in Heaven
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 Celebrating the Seven Days of Creation
Offers a wide array of ideas for play time, art projects, field trips, and more.
Activity | Ages up to 10

 Correspondences of Light
Illustrations of three stories in the Word that talk about light. (Quotations are the King James translation.)
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Creation Chain
Make a paper chain with the names (or pictures) of the people in your family and other things that the Lord has made. Or make a paper chain that illustrates several things in creation that depend on one another. 
Project | Ages 4 - 14

 Creation Diorama
A great family project to build and display in your home.
Project | Ages 4 - 10

 Creation Mobile
Assemble this lovely mobile to remind you of all the Lord's precious gifts to us.
Project | Ages 4 - 14

 Creation Poem with Hand Motions
A lovely poem about creation with hand motions.
Activity | Ages up to 10

 Creation | Seas to Trees Pop-up
Color cut-and-fold pop-up project showing dry land rising out of the water and then growing a tree illustrating Genesis 1:9-13. Sample activity from Creation: reflection of God, Level C, ages 11-14.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 14

 Creation Sequencing Cards
Children can color and cut out these cards, then practice putting them in order from day 1-7.
Activity | Ages 4 - 10

 Creation Story (circle book project)
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 9 - 12

 Creation | The First Day - Level A
Complete lesson with activity choices: light and darkness game and song, separate light and darkness collage, scripted story discussion, coloring page, and a memory verse. Sample lesson from Creation: reflection of God, Level A, ages 3-6.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 3 - 6

 Creation | The First Day - Level B
Complete lesson with activity choices: light and darkness experiment with accompanying video, let there be light folding paper project, scripted story discussion, coloring page, and a memory verse. Sample lesson from Creation: reflection of God, Level B, ages 7-10.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 7 - 10

 Creation | The First Day - Level C
Complete lesson with activity choices: living in the dark--group blindfold games, video and discussion on the bible, creation and a can of peaches, scripted story discussion, and an illustrated quotation card. Sample Lesson from Creation: reflection of God, Level C.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 14

 Family Worship: The Story of Creation
Ideas for reading and discussing the story of creation in Genesis 1. Includes suggestions for extending the experience such as going for a nature walk.
Religion Lesson | Ages 3 - 15

 God Said What? The Creation Story
Spiritual tasks offer a reflection on a Biblical story and suggest a task for spiritual growth.
Activity | Ages over 18

 Memory Verse: Giving Thanks for Creation
Activity | Ages 4 - 14

 Memory Verse: Life Is Eternal
Activity | Ages 4 - 14

 Men and Women Are Different
Studies confirm that differences between men and women extend beyond the physical body, affecting engagement on all levels of life.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17

 Overview of Creation Reflection of God Levels A, B, C for ages 3-14
Overview of Creation: reflection of God, Levels A, B, C for ages 3-14.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 3 - 14

 Prophecies of the Advent
Prophecies of Jesus' advent on earth often use the image of new light dawning in darkness to describe the spiritual impact His birth would have on the world.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17

 Qualities of the Lord
Look at colored pictures of stories from the Word. Using a word bank, identify the quality of the Lord shown in each picture.
Project | Ages 9 - 14

 Quotes: Giving Thanks for Creation
Teaching Support | Ages over 15

 Stars
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 9 - 12

 Summary of Creation and Thankfulness
This lesson discusses a story from the Word and suggests projects and activities for young children.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 Sun and the Fruit of Creation
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Thankfulness
A Thanksgiving "wreath" to color and display.
Project | Ages 4 - 14

 Thanking the Lord for Creation
How can your words and actions show the Lord that you appreciate His creation?
Activity | Ages over 15

 The Creation
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 The Creation: A General View
A New Church Bible story explanation for teaching Sunday school. Includes lesson materials for Primary (3-8 years), Junior (9-11 years), Intermediate (12-14 years), Senior (15-17 years) and Adults.
Teaching Support | Ages over 3

 The Creation: The Fifth and Sixth Days
A New Church Bible story explanation for teaching Sunday school. Includes lesson materials for Primary (3-8 years), Junior (9-11 years), Intermediate (12-14 years), Senior (15-17 years) and Adults.
Teaching Support | Ages over 3

 The Creation: The First Four Days
A New Church Bible story explanation for teaching Sunday school. Includes lesson materials for Primary (3-8 years), Junior (9-11 years), Intermediate (12-14 years), Senior (15-17 years) and Adults.
Teaching Support | Ages over 3

 The Days of Creation Collage Book or Mural
Ideas from an art teacher for making a creation book or mural.
Project | Ages 4 - 10

 The Fifth Day of Creation
Lesson outline provides teaching ideas with questions for discussion, projects, and activities.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 7 - 10

 The Fifth Day of Creation
A lesson for younger children with discussion ideas and a project.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 The First Day of Creation
Lesson outline provides teaching ideas with questions for discussion, projects, and activities.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 7 - 10

 The First Day of Creation
A lesson for younger children with discussion ideas and a project.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 The Fourth Day of Creation
Lesson outline provides teaching ideas with questions for discussion, projects, and activities.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 7 - 10

 The Fourth Day of Creation
A lesson for younger children with discussion ideas and a project.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 The Greatest Gift
Article | Ages 15 - 17

 The Meaning of the Tree of Life
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 The Purpose of Creation
Birth brings a person into the natural world, but God's ultimate purpose is that a person be born again into heavenly life, the life of the spirit.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17

 The Second Day of Creation
Lesson outline provides teaching ideas with questions for discussion, projects, and activities.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 7 - 10

 The Second Day of Creation
A lesson for younger children with discussion ideas and a project.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 The Seven Days of Creation
An illustrated story of the seven days of creation.
Story | Ages 3 - 7

 The Sixth Day of Creation
Lesson outline provides teaching ideas with questions for discussion, projects, and activities.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 7 - 10

 The Sixth Day of Creation
A lesson for younger children with discussion ideas and a project.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 The Story of Creation
Family lessons provide a worship talk and a variety of activities for children and teens..
Religion Lesson | Ages 4 - 17

 The Story of Creation: Family Worship Ideas
Detailed notes on the seven days of creation.
Article | Ages over 18

 The Third Day of Creation
Lesson outline provides teaching ideas with questions for discussion, projects, and activities.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 7 - 10

 The Third Day of Creation
A lesson for younger children with discussion ideas and a project.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 The Universe
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 The Word Made Flesh
Like Genesis, the Gospel of John begins with creation. While Genesis describes the creation of natural light, John describes a second creation into spiritual light.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17

 Two Great Lights
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Using the Lord’s Creation
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 Where Did Everything Come From?
Grandpa explains to Annika and Peter where everything came from.
Story | Ages 4 - 6

 Why Are We Here?
Lesson and activities to explore why we were created - what God intends for us.
Religion Lesson | Ages over 15

From Swedenborg's Works

 

Apocalypse Explained #294

Apocalypse Explained (Tansley translation)      

Study this Passage

Go to section / 1232  

← Previous   Next →

294. Because thou hast created all things. That this signifies that from Him is all existence and life, and heaven for those who receive is evident from the signification of creating, as denoting not only that all things exist from the Lord, but also that all life is from Him. And because the spiritual sense of the Word treats only of heaven and the church, therefore by creating is here primarily signified to reform, thus to give heaven to those who receive, for this is to reform. (That the existence of all things is from the Lord, may be seen in the work, Heaven and Hell 7-12 137; and that all life is from the Heaven and Hell 9, in the same work, and in The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem 278). But by creating, in this passage, is not signified natural existence and life, but spiritual existence and life; this latter is everywhere signified by creating, when mentioned in the Word; the reason is that the existence of heaven and earth is not the end of creation, but a means to the end. The end of creation is, that the human race may exist and that from it there may be an angelic heaven; this therefore being the end, to create signifies to reform, which is to give heaven to those who receive. Ends are what are meant in the spiritual sense of the Word, but, in the sense of the letter, only the means which involve ends are mentioned; in this manner does what is spiritual lie hidden in the letter of the Word.

(References: Revelation 4:11)


[2] That to create signifies to reform and regenerate men, and so to establish the church, is evident from those passages in the Word where the term occurs; as in the following: In Isaiah:

"I will give in the wilderness the cedar of shittah, and the myrtle and the oil tree. That they may see, and know, and consider, and understand together, that the hand of Jehovah hath done this, and the Holy One of Israel hath created it" (41:19, 20).

The subject here treated of is the establishment of the church among the nations; the wilderness signifies their not being in good because in ignorance of truth, for all good into which man is reformed is imparted only by truths. The cedar of shittah signifies genuine truths; the myrtle and the oil tree signify spiritual good and celestial good. It is evident therefore what is signified by giving in the wilderness the cedar of shittah, the myrtle and the oil tree, when treating of the nations who are not in the good of heaven and of the church, because in ignorance of truths. That they may see, and know, and consider and understand together, signifies the knowledges, understanding, perception and affection of the love of good and truth; from these significations it is evident that by the Holy One of Israel creating this is signified reformation; consequently, that to create is to reform.

(References: Isaiah 41:19-20)


[3] In the same:

"Thus saith Jehovah, thy Creator, O Jacob, and thy Former, O Israel; for I have redeemed thee; I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. Bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the end of the earth; even every one that is called by my name I have created for my glory, I have formed and made. I, Jehovah, your Holy One, the Creator of Israel, your King" (43:1, 6, 7, 15).

The subject here treated of is also the establishment of the church among the nations; and from their reformation, Jehovah, is called creator and former; therefore it is said, "I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name, thou art mine." Bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the end of the earth, signifies the nations that are out of the church but which receive its truths and goods from the Lord; from far, and from the end of the earth, signifying those who are out of the church, earth denoting the church, sons those who receive truths, and daughters those who receive goods; these are said to be created, formed and made for glory. Glory is the Divine truth which they receive.

(References: Isaiah 43:6-7)


[4] In David:

"Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a firm spirit in the midst of me" (Psalms 51:10).

To create a clean heart signifies to reform as to the good of love; to renew a firm spirit in the midst of me, signifies to reform as to the truth of faith; for heart signifies the good of love, and spirit a life according to Divine truth, which is the faith of truth.

[5] Again:

"Wherefore hast thou created the sons of man in vain? Lord, where are thy former mercies?" (Psalms 89:47, 49).

To create the sons of man signifies to reform by means of Divine truth; the sons of man are all those who are in Divine truths, thus in the abstract Divine truths themselves.

[6] Again:

"The nations shall fear the name of Jehovah, and all the kings of the earth thy glory, because Jehovah hath built up Zion; it shall be written for the generation to come; and the people which shall be created shall praise Jah" (Psalms 102:15, 16, 18).

This passage treats of reformation. By the nations which shall fear the name of Jehovah are meant those who are in good; and by the kings of the earth, those who are in truths from good. By building Zion is signified to establish the church, Zion denoting the church; by the people which shall be created and shall praise Jah, are signified all those who are reformed.

(References: Psalms 102:15-16)


[7] Again:

"Thou givest to them, they gather; thou openest thine hand, they are filled with good. Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created; and thou renewest the faces of the earth" (Psalms 104:28, 30).

That to create here denotes to reform is evident; for by giving, and their gathering is signified that they receive the truths which are given by the Lord. By thou openest thine hand, they are filled with good is signified that they receive the good that flows from the Lord; by thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created, is signified that they are reformed as to life according to Divine truth; and by thou renewest the faces of the earth, is signified the establishment of the church.

[8] In Isaiah:

"Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number; he calleth them all by name; God from eternity; Jehovah, the creator of the ends of the earth, is not weary" (40:26, 28).

Here also reformation is treated of, which is signified by creating; by the host which Jehovah bringeth out are signified all truths and goods; by calling them all by name is signified reception according to the quality of every one; by creating the ends of the earth is signified the establishment of the church, thus the reformation of those who are therein.

[9] In Ezekiel:

"Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God, every precious stone was thy covering, in the days in which thou wast created, they were prepared. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day in which thou wast created, until perversity was found in thee" (28:13, 15).

These things are spoken of the king of Tyre, by whom are signified those who are in truths and thence in good; concerning whom it is said that they had been in the garden of God, and that every precious stone was their covering. By the garden of God is signified intelligence, and by the precious stones which are also named in the passage are signified the knowledges (cognitiones) of truth and good; these are called a covering, became they are in the natural man, and the natural man covers the spiritual. These are said to have been prepared in the day in which they were created, that is in the day in which they were reformed: hence it is evident what is meant by thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created.

[10] In Isaiah:

"Jehovah will create upon every dwelling of Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud by day and the shining of a flame of fire by night; for upon all the glory shall be a covering" (4:5).

By Zion is signified the church as to the Word; the internal or spiritual sense of the Word, as to good, is meant by the dwelling thereof; the external or literal sense, as to truths, is meant by the cloud by day, and as to good, by the shining of a flame of fire by night. This sense, because it covers, and is the repository of, the spiritual sense, is called a covering upon all the glory, glory denoting the spiritual sense; these are also said to be created, because they are the truths of heaven and the church.

[11] In Malachi:

"Hath not one God created us? wherefore do we act perfidiously?" (2:10).

Because by created us is signified reformed, that they might be a church, it is therefore said, "wherefore do we act perfidiously?"

[12] In Isaiah:

"Thus saith God, Jehovah, he that createth the heavens, and stretcheth them out; he that spreadeth forth the earth, giveth breath to the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein" (42:5).

By creating the heavens and stretching them out, and by spreading forth the earth, is signified to reform; by the heavens are signified both the heavens and the internals of the church - the internals of the church also are heavens with those who are in them; the earth signifies the externals of the church, which are said to be spread forth when truths from good are multiplied: that reformation by truths is hereby signified is evident, for it is said, "he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein."

[13] In the same:

"Jehovah, creating the heavens, forming the earth and making it. He hath not created it an emptiness, he formed it to be inhabited" (45:12, 18).

By heavens and by earth, and by creating, are signified similar things as in the passage adduced above. By not creating it an emptiness is signified that it is not without truth and good, in which they are who are reformed; the lack of these is emptiness. By he hath formed it to be inhabited, is signified that they should live according to good and truth, and from them; for to inhabit signifies to live.

[14] Again:

"Behold, I create a new heaven and a new earth. Be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create; for, behold, I am about to create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people gladness" (65:17, 18).

By creating a new heaven and a new earth are not meant the visible heaven and the habitable earth, but a new church, internal and external, heaven denoting the internal of the church, and earth its external (what the internal of the church is, and what the external, may be seen in The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem 246); therefore it is said, "behold, I am about to create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people gladness." Jerusalem is the church, rejoicing its delight from good, and gladness its delight from truth. Similar things are signified by the new heavens and the new earth in the same prophet (66:22), and by the new heaven and the new earth in the Apocalypse (21:1).

(References: Isaiah 65:17-18)


[15] And similarly by the things in the first chapter of Genesis:

"In the beginning Jehovah created the heaven and the earth; and the earth was void and empty, and darkness was upon the faces of the abyss. And the spirit of God moved upon the faces of the waters. And God said, Let there be light, and there was light. And God created man into his own image, into the image of God created he him; male and female created he them" (1:1-3, 27).

This passage treats of the establishment of the first church on this earth; the reformation of the members of that church, as to their internal, and as to their external state, is meant by the creation of the heaven and the earth. That there was no church before, because men were without good and without truth, is signified by the earth being void and empty; and that they were then in dense ignorance and also in falsities, is signified by the darkness upon the faces of the abyss; their first enlightenment is signified by the spirit of God moving upon the faces of the waters, and by God saying, "Let there be light, and there was light." By the spirit of God is signified Divine truth proceeding from the Lord, and by moving upon the faces of the waters is signified enlightenment; the same is signified by light; and by there was light is signified the reception of Divine truth. That God created man into His own image signifies that he was in the love of good and truth, and corresponded to heaven as its likeness. For the love of good and truth is an image of God, and hence also the angelic heaven is an image of God; therefore, in the sight of the Lord, it is as one man (as may be seen in the work, Heaven and Hell 59-67, 68-72, 73-77, 78-86, 87-102). That He created them male and female signifies that He reformed them as to truth and as to good; male, in the Word, denotes truth, and female denotes good. From these considerations it is evident that it is not the creation of heaven and earth, but the new creation and reformation of those who composed the first church, which is described in this chapter and in the following chapters; and that similar things are there meant by the creation of heaven and earth as by the creation of the new heaven and new earth in the passages above adduced.

[16] That creation in the Word signifies reformation and the establishment of the church, which is effected by the Divine truth proceeding from the Lord is also evident from these words in John:

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and God was the Word. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not. That was the true light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. And the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory" (1:1-5, 9, 10, 14).

By the Word is here meant the Lord as to Divine truth. That all things were created by the Divine truth is meant by these words, "all things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made"; also by these, "the world was made by him." And since by the Word is meant the Lord as to Divine truth, it is therefore said, "in him was life, and the life was the light of men; that was the true light"; light signifying Divine truth, and life all intelligence and wisdom therefrom; for this constitutes man's essential life, and life eternal is according to it. The presence of the Lord as Divine truth, with every one, from which come life and light, is meant by the light shining in darkness and enlightening every man that cometh into the world; but that those who are in the falsities of evil do not perceive, consequently, do not receive that truth, is meant by the darkness not comprehending, and by the world knowing him not; for darkness signifies the falsities of evil. That it is the Lord as to the Divine Human who is here meant by the Word is clearly manifest, for it is said, "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory," glory also signifying Divine truth. (That all things were created by means of Divine truth proceeding from the Lord, which is here meant by the Word, may be seen in the work, Heaven and Hell 137, 139; and in The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem 263). Hence also it is clear that to make or create here also signifies to make man new or to reform him; for here, as in the book of Genesis, mention is immediately made of light. (That by light is signified that proceeding Divine truth whereby all are reformed, may be seen in the work, Heaven and Hell 126-140, and in The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem 49).

(References: John 1:9-10; Revelation 4:11)

Go to section / 1232  

← Previous   Next →

   Study this Passage
From Swedenborg's Works

References from Swedenborg's drafts, indexes & diaries:

Apocalypse Explained 287, 297, 304, 315, 328, 342, 539, 609, 1057


   Swedenborg Research Tools

Related New Christian Commentary

Translation by Isaiah Tansley. Many thanks to the Swedenborg Society for the permission to use this translation.

The Bible

 

Job 38:8

King James Version         

Study the Inner Meaning

← Previous    Full Chapter    Next →

8 Or who shut up the sea with doors, when it brake forth, as if it had issued out of the womb?

   Study the Inner Meaning
Related New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:

Hop to Similar Bible Verses

Genesis 1:9

Bible Word Meanings

sea
Water generally represents what Swedenborg calls “natural truth,” or true concepts about day-to-day matters and physical things. Since all water ultimately flows into the seas,...

doors
In a general sense, doors in the Bible represent the initial desires for good and concepts of truth that introduce people to new levels of...

womb
'Matrix' signifies opening of the spiritual mind.


Translate: